April 12, 2018 / 9:50 AM / 6 months ago

GE explores public offering, hybrid deals in strategic review: Wall Street Journal

(Reuters) - General Electric Co (GE.N) is exploring a public offering for one of its divisions and discussing hybrid deals with public companies to combine assets, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The logo of General Electric Co. is pictured at the Global Operations Center in San Pedro Garza Garcia, neighbouring Monterrey, Mexico, on May 12, 2017. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

The hybrid deals would leave GE shareholders with stakes in multiple public companies, the report said. The company’s shares were up about 0.6 percent at $13.05 in premarket trading.

The possibilities include spinning off a division to investors or combining a division with a smaller public company in a way that avoids a big tax bill.

The WSJ story came after Reuters reported last month that GE was considering a possible spin-off of its transportation division rather than a sale. The WSJ reported on Thursday that this could be used as a template for other deals.

Boston-based GE’s transportation business had sales of about $4.18 billion in 2017.

After divesting most if its finance arm, GE Capital, in 2015, the company is paring the business further and could even consider selling it off, the Wall Street Journal said.

GE Capital has weighed on the company’s financial performance, as the unit in January set aside $15 billion in reserves over seven years related to its long-term care insurance portfolio.

GE Chief Executive John Flannery has said he is considering separate structures for the company’s core divisions - healthcare, aviation and power, and last year indicated that the company would shed more than $20 billion of non-core assets.

The company said in February it had a “line of sight” on the first $4 billion in asset sales, and last week announced plans to sell its information technology business to private equity firm Veritas Capital for $1.05 billion in cash.

GE plans to provide restated results for 2016 and 2017 by April 13 to reflect a new accounting standard, and will report first-quarter results on April 20.

GE declined to comment on the report.

Up to Wednesday's close, GE's stock had fallen about 25.7 percent this year, compared with a 1.2 percent decline in the S&P 500 index .SPX.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera and Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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